118-logo
The Disaster We’ve Wrought on the World’s Oceans May Be Irrevocable
Mother nature creates it's own karma.
Henry Kang , Editor | Jul 2, 2014
Topic category: The Big Picture
FROM:TypeZen

In the great halls of La Boqueria, Barcelona’s central market, tourists, foodies and cooks gather every day to marvel at the fresh food, like pilgrims at the site of a miracle. The chief shrines are the fish counters, where thousands of sea creatures making up dozens of species gleam pink and gray on mounds of ice. But to many ocean scientists this is not a display of the ocean’s bounty but a museum—by the end of this century, many of these animals may be history due to man’s reckless abuse of the planet. As we keep dumping greenhouse gases into the air, the oceans keep sucking them up, making the waters deadly to their inhabitants.

On the Boqueria’s fish stands I count 10 types of bivalves—creatures like clams, oysters and mussels that use calcium carbonate to make their endlessly varied shells. In as little as 20 years they will be very different and, in some parts of the world, entirely gone. Then there are the ranks of huge Asian prawns and tiny shrimps, terra-cotta crabs from Scotland, and lobsters, magnificent admirals in blue fringed with gold. Lucky for them, these creatures make their shells differently (mostly out of a polymer called chitin), so the rapidly acidifying waters of our oceans won’t dissolve them as it will the exteriors of the bivalves. But the acidification—which some scientists believeis the fastest change in the ocean’s chemistry in 300 million years—appears to harm the working of the gills and change the behavior of the crustaceans when they are very young.

The last is the least understood of these phenomena. Along the coasts and out in the deep, huge “dead zones” have been multiplying. They are the emptiest places on the planet, where there’s little oxygen and sometimes no life at all, almost entirely restricted to some unicellular organisms like bacteria. Vast blooms of algae—organisms that thrive in more acid (and less alkaline) seawater and are fed by pollution—have already rendered parts of the Baltic Sea pretty much dead. A third of the marine life in that sea, which once fed all of Northern Europe, is gone and may already be beyond hope of recovery.

“There’s a profound game-changing event going on in the life of the sea,” says Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of York, England. “The fact is that changes in alkalinity are going to cause massive reorganization of marine life, impacts on marine food webs, productivity, all sorts of things. We’re heading for a car crash here.”

Many of these risks are caused by one of the world’s most pressing problems: climate change. Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing global temperatures to rise, which is leading to the melting of the polar ice caps, which in turn has resulted in rising sea levels and a host of ecological issues.

    It’s also causing the chemical makeup of the world’s oceans to change so rapidly. Carbon dioxide, one of the key perpetrators in the lineup of man-made greenhouse gases, is absorbed by seawater, causing a chemical reaction near the ocean surface that results in lowered pH levels. And about one-third of all the man-made carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere ends up absorbed by the oceans. Carles Pelejero, a scientist working less than a mile from La Boqueria at the Institut de Cienciès del Mar (ICM), on Barcelona’s seafront, calls it “climate change’s evil twin.”

    [Click Link Below for Full Article]

    http://www.newsweek.com/2014/07/11/disaster-weve-wrought-worlds-oceans-may-be-irrevocable-256962.html

    SOURCE:
    Alex Renton |Jul 2, 2014
    FROM: Newsweek
    Tags: TypeZen, Stress Management, Stress, Type A, Type A Personality, Henry Kang, Alex Renton, Newsweek
    comments powered by Disqus